In the world of pickups, it seems the most exciting news over the last couple of years was the separation of the Ram brand from Dodge.
Yeah, the Ford F-150 got some new engines, and the HD heavyweights have been trading the crown for max trailer-towing capacity, but no maker of trucks has done anything significantly buzzworthy lately. Where’s the pickup swagger? The Ford Raptor has some, but it’s priced way out in fantasy-land for most truck buyers.
With the roll Chrysler’s been on since the Super Bowl, it should be no surprise that the feistiest of carmakers will add some much-needed excitement to the world of pickups.
A new variant of the Ram 1500, codenamed “Adventurer,” will focus on the sport truck market, offering something for young or first-time truck shoppers. The best part? The truck will come with a standard 390-horsepower Hemi V8. The worst part? The engine will come attached only to an automatic transmission.
The lack of a proper manual may be the only drawback on the Adventurer, though. The truck will come equipped with foglamps, 20-inch aluminum wheels, air conditioning, automatic headlamps, chrome-tipped dual exhaust, body-colored bumpers and a grille with honeycomb inserts.
The model will come only in regular cab and short-bed body styles, with either rear-wheel-drive or four-by-four drivetrains. Models will start at just $23,830 (for a Hemi!), making it one of the most affordable V8 pickups on the market.
The Adventurer coincides with a contractor-ready V8 Ram 1500 called the Tradesman, which has a similar price, but gives up the performance look in favor of a standard Class IV trailer hitch, heavy-duty engine and transmission oil coolers, 17-inch painted steel wheels and heavy-duty shocks.
The Adventurer and Tradesman will go on sale in the second quarter of 2011.
Is there room in the market for a budget-oriented sport truck? I sure think so, and I give kudos to the Chrysler Group for seeing that.